Spotted in the Douro: wild vines

Now this is terribly geeky: I know. But when I visited Quinta dos Malvedos last September I was delighted to see a wild vine growing in a tree.

This is really interesting to me, because this is the native habitat for the grape vine. Originally, all vines would have been woodland climbers. They are adapted for growing up trees.

Their root system is really good at scavenging nutrients and water: they’d be competing with mature plants. Their woody stems are weak and not self supporting, because the trees they grow up would support them.

They initiate fruit where there are gaps in the tree canopy, and their berries are red coloured to attract birds – the dispersal agent for their seeds.

These vines are clearly not Vitis vinifera, the wine grape, but are escaped rootsock American varieties. They are phylloxera resistant and thus can grow on their own roots. It’s great to be able to see vines in their native state, though.

3 comments to Spotted in the Douro: wild vines

  • Geek on all you want :) I love seeing Vitis californica in the trees here in Napa.

  • “Terribly geeky”? Oh dear, that means I must be a geek! I thought it was a really nice and interesting post!
    I have a couple of wild vines growing next to my vineyard in Carabaña (Spain). I think they survived the building a new road in the 60′s, and are now thriving on the resulting embankment. They are all vinifera though, as every year we harvest the white Airén grapes that they generously produce! There’s some photos of them is this blog post here: http://bit.ly/H8jHLV

  • American varieties in their “native state” in the Douro?? Did you spot those native potatoes there too? ;-)

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